On The Vine: Everything’s OKKK

·3 min read

You tired of hearing me rail against this so called “fight” to snuff out so called critical race theory? Well, that’s too damn bad.

It’s gotten to the point of parody. The levels of oblivious — or maybe it’s purposefully, targeted, schemed racism (maybe that’d be easier to stomach?) — chauvinism and racism is incredibly startling.

Let’s just get into it...

Around the block

Members of the Missouri House of Representatives work on the final day of the legislative session Friday, May 13, 2016, at the Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Members of the Missouri House of Representatives work on the final day of the legislative session Friday, May 13, 2016, at the Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

No Black parents, teachers or scholars invited to Missouri hearing on teaching race

Earlier this week a Missouri legislative committee held a hearing on how educators teach K-12 students about race and racism.

And guess what.

No Black parents, teachers or scholars testified to the Joint Committee on Education during the invite-only critical race theory hearing. Are we surprised? Probably shouldn’t be.

Summer Ballentine at The Associated Press reported:

Aside from an official from Missouri’s education department, the only people who testified Monday were critics of critical race theory, which is a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism.

Missouri NAACP President Rod Chapel called it “ridiculous” to have a conversation about inequity while “excluding the very people who are saying we’ve been treated inequitably.”

“That talks more to the kind of hearing that they wanted to have than the information that they wanted to gather,” Chapel told reporters after the hearing. “They wanted to hear from their friends who were going to support their political talking points.”

Heather Fleming, a former Missouri teacher who now offers diversity and inclusion training, said she wanted to testify Monday but was not allowed. She said without any African Americans involved in the discussion, “you’re talking about us, without us.”

Don’t miss...

Amanda Burrows of Tuscumbia, Missouri, has raised $5,000 to fund an anti-racism message on a billboard near the base of a giant Confederate flag erected this past winter along a popular highway to the Lake of the Ozarks.
Amanda Burrows of Tuscumbia, Missouri, has raised $5,000 to fund an anti-racism message on a billboard near the base of a giant Confederate flag erected this past winter along a popular highway to the Lake of the Ozarks.

A giant Confederate flag went up in the Ozarks. One woman answered with this billboard

The Star’s Bob Cronkleton writes:

After a giant Confederate flag was erected this past winter along a popular route to the Lake of the Ozarks, Amanda Burrows of Tuscumbia, Missouri, felt compelled to respond.

The flag, she believes, is an “outdated symbol of racism.”

“I didn’t think it was appropriate that the flag would be allowed to speak for everyone in this community,” Burrows said. “After being angry about it but not being constructive for several months, I noticed that the billboard in the direct line of sight of the flag was available.”

That has led to her putting up a billboard with the anti-racist message of “EQUALITY BIGGER THAN HATE.” She wanted tourists and visitors to know “that Confederate flag does not represent all of us.”

Burrows started a GoFundMe to help pay for the billboard, accumulating roughly $5,000 at first to pay for it. She has since raised north of $35,000 and said while she doesn’t have direct plans yet, she plans to organize a group to develop the best plan to utilize the money in the spirit of why it was donated.

Beyond the block

A 1920s Ku Klux Klan gathering of the Fort Worth Klan No. 101, with Klan members in robes and hoods holding signs.
A 1920s Ku Klux Klan gathering of the Fort Worth Klan No. 101, with Klan members in robes and hoods holding signs.

Texas Senate Bill Drops Teaching Requirement That Ku Klux Klan Is ‘Morally Wrong’

Yes, you read that correctly. Texas has passed a bill making it cool to teach white supremacy is OKKK.

Mary Papenfuss writes for HuffPost:

In a new political low in Texas, the Republican-dominated state Senate has passed a bill to eliminate a requirement that public schools teach that the Ku Klux Klan and its white supremacist campaign of terror are “morally wrong.”

The cut is among some two dozen curriculum requirements dropped from the new measure, along with studying Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the works of United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez, Susan B. Anthony’s writings about the women’s suffragist movement, and Native American history.

The measure slices out more curriculum requirements from an already restrictive Texas education law (H.B. 3979) passed last month as part of conservatives’ fear-mongering about critical race theory, a framework for studying institutional racism that is rarely taught in K-12 schools. The term “critical race theory” is not explicitly mentioned in either the law that passed or this current Senate bill.

The new bill echoes language from last month’s law that bars teachers from requiring students to develop “an understanding” of The 1619 Project, which calls for a far more profound examination of the significance of slavery in American history.

In case you missed it...

For the culture

Trans model Leyna Bloom is the first transgender person to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition
Trans model Leyna Bloom is the first transgender person to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition

Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue Has A Trans Model On The Cover For The 1st Time

We stan in this newsletter people with the courage, resilience and grace to break new ground. This week we celebrate Leyna Bloom.

The model and actress became the first trans person to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, the magazine’s most famous and perennially bestselling edition.

“I dedicate this cover to all ballroom femme queens past, present and future,” Bloom wrote on Instagram. “Many girls like us don’t have the chance to live our dreams, or to live long at all. I hope my cover empowers those, who are struggling to be seen, feel valued.”

Becky Sullivan writes for NPR:

The 27-year-old’s star turn on the Sports Illustrated cover is just the latest on a growing list of barriers she’s broken since she came out in 2014: one of the first trans women to walk the runway at Paris Fashion Week, the first trans woman of color to star in a film at the Cannes Film Festival, and the first trans woman to grace the pages of Vogue India...

Sports Illustrated has worked in recent years to make its swimsuit issues more inclusive. First published in 1964, the magazine didn’t feature a Black cover model until Tyra Banks won a spot in 1996.

Last year, the magazine featured a trans model, Valentina Sampaio, inside the issue for the first time. In 2019, Sports Illustrated featured Halima Aden, a Muslim model who wore a hijab and burkini, alongside soccer star Megan Rapinoe, who was the first openly gay woman to appear in the issue.

Did you see this?...

Designer Virgil Abloh, centre, accepts applause as he poses with other models including Gigi Hadid, right, at the conclusion of the Off White mens Spring-Summer 2020 fashion collection presented in Paris, Wednesday, June 19.
Designer Virgil Abloh, centre, accepts applause as he poses with other models including Gigi Hadid, right, at the conclusion of the Off White mens Spring-Summer 2020 fashion collection presented in Paris, Wednesday, June 19.

Virgil Abloh Gets a Seat at the Power Table

Venessa Friedman of The New York Times writes:

Virgil Abloh — the fashion designer, DJ and pundit of pop culture — is about to become the most powerful Black executive at the most powerful luxury goods group in the world.

On Tuesday, LVMH announced it was acquiring a 60 percent stake in Off-White, the luxury streetwear brand Mr. Abloh founded in 2013 and which he still designs, alongside his job as artistic director of Louis Vuitton men’s wear.

“I’m getting a seat at the table,” Mr. Abloh said cheerfully, speaking by Zoom from Chicago, where he lives.

LVMH is the self proclaimed leader in luxury — which its ledger does not dispute. The French conglomerate owns labels such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Hennesy, Dom Pérignon, Veuve Clicquot, among many others.

Though his job definition is still fairly nebulous (chief disruption officer?), the news gives Mr. Abloh, a first generation Ghanaian-American, a fairly broad remit and makes Off-White one of the rare brands in the LVMH stable not rooted in European heritage.

Something to chew on

Jackson County Health Department nurse Rachel Baas talks with 18-year-old ShaNielle Collins before giving her a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Grandview branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library Wednesday, July 14, 2021. The health department in June began operating vaccination clinics at Mid-Continent libraries, focusing on communities with vaccination gaps, which means either low accessibility or rates.
Jackson County Health Department nurse Rachel Baas talks with 18-year-old ShaNielle Collins before giving her a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Grandview branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library Wednesday, July 14, 2021. The health department in June began operating vaccination clinics at Mid-Continent libraries, focusing on communities with vaccination gaps, which means either low accessibility or rates.

Mask up; get vaxxed

Cases and hospitalizations are rising again to the point that health officials and local government are calling for people to wear masks, especially the unvaccinated. Roughly 40% of individuals are fully vaccinated. Think about that next time you run to the story for root beer flavored Shatto milk (It tastes like a root beer float — no shame).

For those of you who aren’t vaccinated, the situation is so dire, the state of Missouri is now offering incentives to getting the shots:

A total of 900 residents will win prizes of $10,000 cash or $10,000 toward education savings. Parson’s announcement came as the virus is surging across the state, with 2,229 new cases reported Wednesday — the highest since mid-January.

Find out how to sign up here.

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